In 1839, Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber, creating the literal foundation for the rise of performance athletic shoes we now call sneakers. And a new illustrated print by the U.K. art studio Dorothy celebrates the 181 years since then.
To build the illustration, Dorothy began with a Nike Air Max sneaker, first designed by Tinker Hatfield in 1987. But within that sneaker, designers created a whole miniature world to tell the history through tiny vignettes—which highlight the influence of Jesse Owens dominating the 1936 Olympics wearing Dazzlers (a company started by the founder of Adidas), 1980s icons like Marty McFly with his self-tightening Nike Mags, and now, contemporary shoe designers Tyler, the Creator (Converse) and Kanye West (Yeezy), who each started their careers in music. Indeed, the story goes from technical innovations, to sports achievements, to shoes as entertainment, to many in the entertainment industry actually designing shoes themselves.
Now, if you like the style but not the topic, know that this print is one of several that Dorothy has made in this same cut-out style. Past projects include the movie camera, the Minimoog synth, and the Apple Macintosh. Each 20″ x 27″ print sells for about $40. And yes, they do ship internationally.